Strangers help S'pore woman give birth to twins in car

Strangers help S'pore woman give birth to twins in car

It was water, water everywhere when twins Harvey and Hazel Qu came into this world on the morning of July 4.

It was during a storm that Madam Tan Swee Gek's waterbag burst.

Dad Qu Wang Jze, 35, had just dropped their elder son, Howard, who is 18 months old, at the childcare centre in Bukit Panjang before going to work when he got a call from his wife, also 35.

"She sounded rather weak. I took 10 minutes to rush back and to take her to Thomson Medical Centre," said the civil servant.

There was the morning rush hour traffic at 8.30 am, but the babies could not wait.

At Pending Road, Madam Tan told her husband she had to deliver.

"That was when I turned into the nearest carpark near Block 254, Bangkit Road. It was an open-air one. I alighted and when I went to the back seat where my wife was, I could see a baby's head," he said.

Two women passing by heard his shouts for help and rushed over. One of them was bank officer Tay Hui Ting, 30.

She helped to call for an ambulance while the other woman, a foreign maid, helped the couple.

"When I went over to the car, the first baby was already out, but he still had his umbilical cord attached.

"I got worried when I heard there was another child, so I kept calling the call centre to make sure the ambulance has got the right location," Miss Tay told The New Paper.

Mr Qu said there was a bloody mess in the car, but when he heard the faint cries of his son, he was assured.

"That was when the rain became very unforgiving. It pelted really hard, but we were fine. The women used their umbrellas to shield us from the weather and one used my wife's packed clothing to wrap my son," he said.

It was then that Mr Qu remembered they were having twins.

"And I asked my wife to push so the girl could be born too. She came four minutes after her brother, but she was in a breech position.

"I could see her legs and body instead of her head."

A baby is in the breech position when he or she is not in a head-down position. This would result in the baby's head being the last part to emerge from the mother, making it more difficult to ease the child through the birth canal.

Danger

A potential danger of this is the umbilical cord being squeezed as the baby moves toward the birth canal, cutting off the baby's supply of oxygen and blood.

"I did not tell my wife this, but I could only encourage her to push even harder and to everyone's relief, my daughter was born," Mr Qu said.

"Hazel was much smaller than her twin brother and she looked pale and tired. But the important thing was she cried finally," he added.

Miss Tay said that in the meantime, she walked out to the main road to make sure the ambulance went to the right location.

"There are two entrances into the carpark and I wanted to make sure the ambulance driver knew which one to go to," she said, adding that she waved frantically when she spotted it.

Mr Qu said the ambulance arrived within 10 minutes of the call and the paramedics were "surprised to see the twins".

"The staff cut my son's umbilical cord, wrapped him in a warmer and handed him to me. I had to stand aside while tending to my wife and daughter.

"The women continued to shield my son with their umbrellas and for that, I am extremely grateful," he said.

By then, a crowd had gathered, offering congratulations, Mr Qu said, rather amused.

The whole family was taken to National University Hospital, where Hazel remained.

"Harvey was 2.4kg at birth and he was discharged on July 8. Hazel was only 1.9kg and was underweight, so she remained in the intensive care (unit)," Mr Qu said, adding that she has started to put on weight.

"I am sure she will soon join her brother in their month-old celebration," he said.

Dr Christopher Chong, a gynaecologist in private practice, said that if a woman gives birth in the car, she has to make sure the baby cries.

"There must not be secretions blocking the baby's breathing and if there should be, they must be sucked out," he said.

"The baby must be wrapped to keep it warm, but there is no need to cut the umbilical cord if the mother or the one helping the birth is unsure," he said, adding that the mother's uterus must be rubbed "to make sure the womb contracts, otherwise there can be bleeding".

To the Qus, whose first child had a normal birth in hospital, it was a rather dramatic but blessed morning.

"I want to extend my thanks to both women who stopped to help this stranger and his wife with the birth of their twins." Mr Qu said.

And Miss Tay still could not believe the drama she had been involved in that stormy morning.

"It was my day off and I'm glad I could be of help. My boyfriend and my mum still don't believe it when I told them. I hope the news reports will tell them I didn't dream this whole thing up," she said, laughing.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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